Trust

Would you keep reading if I told you I could solve ALL your trust issues?

Do you truly trust your spouse? Do you truly trust your brother? Do you truly trust anyone in your life?

Have you ever read through your husband or wives phone while they were in the shower or asleep? Have you cleaned out their car so you can see if they were hiding anything? Have you hacked their email?

I’m here to say that we have all done one or the other, or all of the above to someone. Many people have gone as far as to hire people to watch someone.

Five years into my marriage I learned a valuable secret that I wish I had walked into marriage with. To explain this secret, I need to walk you through my families dynamic growing up.

We were raised on trust. Everything thing we did was backed or lead with trust. We were given many privileges out of trust and kept them out of trust. There are not many 16-year-olds that can say they stayed out until 1 or 2 in the morning with their parent’s approval, no need for permission. I didn’t really grow up with a curfew, I didn’t need one. I communicated and kept my parents trust. They reward that trust with their own trust which afforded me many opportunities that were uncommon for my age. I never had to worry about anyone’s word in my family, if we said it, we kept it. Especially to each other. We were honest and open always.

I took that understanding of how relationships should be into my marriage, but my husband wasn’t raised the same. We butted heads on many levels for quite some time. He constantly felt like he had to earn my trust and to keep it he had many hoops to jump through. Every fight we EVER got in was typically about trust. We were both learning.

After one especially difficult fight over some questionable, in my mind, moments, I finally hit my knees! The conversation went something like this…

“WHY GOD! Why can’t I trust him!!” – “BECAUSE YOU DON’T TRUST ME!” – “WHAT, of course, I do!! You are the Creator, my GOD, I believe in you and trust you with every aspect of my life! – “NO, YOU DON’T.” – “I’ve spent my life loving you, I trust you!” – “THEN WHY DON’T YOU TRUST ME WITH HIM?

I had no answer. The GOD of the Universe had called me out! In my control of the situation, I had taken my trust away from God the Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit and rested it upon the shoulders of a fallen man who was incapable of bearing such load and it was putting a lot of stress on our marriage.

My husband is as fallen and as broken as I am. He isn’t perfect, he has never tried to be. He was never meant to bear the burden of my trust. He will ultimately fail me at some point, intentionally or unintentionally. He is not GOD. He is prone to sin.

There is a verse in Psalm 19, “vs12 Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults.” Even with our best intentions, we falter; we lose our temper and act emotionally, and in doing so make irrational decisions in sin we must beg forgiveness for. But, God does not fail like that. He is righteous and good, trustworthy and enduring, honesty and gracious, His mercy endures forever. His answer is not always convenient, or we may not understand, but He never fails us.

Your spouse, your friend, your father or mother, brother or sister…they are made of flesh, with a heart of flesh, and despite our best intentions, WE ALL FAIL each other, even when it is simply a mistake. Like a forgotten email, or phone call, or birthday, or deadline, or even a lie.

If you put your trust into another human, they will leave you broken and hurt. And you will leave them burdened and fretful. Take that responsibility off their shoulders, it was never theirs to bare, and put it back where it belongs…on the one who will never fail you, never leave you, always love you, always perfect Creator, Redeemer, Healer, Friend, your Heavenly Father, GOD – I promise He is strong enough to bare your full trust and will never let you down.

When you have fully surrendered your trust to the one who created you and freed the human you have rested it upon for so long, you will begin to find peace in your relationships and your life.  You will be able to offer grace to those who stumble instead of hurt from pain.

God will hold your trust in the highest regard, he will not slander it or abuse it. By given humans room to fail, we take the pressure off our selves to compensate for that failure and be hurt by it. We need to take the power away from them and put it back where it belongs, where it is safe, in the hands of the one who never fails, Christ Jesus.

STOP putting your trust in another human who will ultimately fail you. Put your trust in God, the one who never fails and free yourself and that person from caring a burden neither of you was designed to bare.

I know that putting this concept into practice is harder than reading it, so…put a penny in your pocket, every time you are tempted to place the burden of trust on another human’s shoulders….pull out that penny and remember…”IN GOD WE TRUST!”

Ashamed but Uplifted

“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

~ This is the verse that binds me today.  I am constantly aware that people do not want to hear my infirmities, for they, as everyone, have too many of their own.  But, today, I find myself a little more willing to share, because maybe in sharing, I will find the strength in Christ to uplift myself and you.  Today started out like any other…a kiss goodbye from my husband as he left for work.  Hearing my son awaken from sleep urging me to pry myself from my bed to care for him and my daughter. 

~ I often struggle with forgetfulness and exhaustion. Just two of the many symptoms that these two diseases particulate. Though there are many symptoms to immune disorders, these two symptoms are the most frustrating to me.  I can handle weight-loss, bowel cramps, feeling cold, achy joints, headaches…the physical aspect is much more tolerable to me than the mental one; at least the physical is tangible, noticeable, and excusable.

~ Because of the exhaustion I am often short tempered with my children, and my heart breaks for them. And, on top of this my son has been showing autistic behaviors.  I can’t seem to break through to his understanding. I often find myself praying throughout the day, “Please Lord, please, I hope I’m handling this right, please help me handle this right!” As I discipline my son over and over again.  Sitting in front of him at timeout as he screams and hits himself.  Not knowing whether I should change tactics or just wait it out. And, realizing that some of his issues are not all his fault; my inconsistency, that stems from my exhaustion, only produces more inconstant behavior.  Because of this I also find myself praying, “Please Lord, I don’t know if I’m handling this right….please stand in the gap for my son…I don’t know that I’m handling this right.”

~ I am constantly in a stage of forgetfulness.  Two nights ago I could have sworn I put my daughter’s doll in the rocking chair and later moved it to the night stand when I went up to rock her, and yet it was in her bed that next morning (I should note it is an infant in sleeps in a crib).  I get so easily distracted that I forget tasks that have been written before me, even events placed on the calendar, they come and go as if they were a ghost passing through my mind, popping out later just to scare me – reminding me they had come and gone, and I had failed, again.

~ As hard as it is for me to share these things, because everyone wants their family and life to be perfect and blessed, please understand that I know the plans the Lord has for my son.  God, in all His wisdom, chose myself and my husband for Isaiah.  An exact genetic make up.  Knowing the calling He placed on our lives to raise our son in such a way as to build his character. He also knows where we will fall short, and the Lord is ready so that He, “Christ”, can stand victoriously in the gap.  In that, Isaiah can say he was not only raised by me and my husband but Christ Jesus also.  This in no-way gives me any excuse to behave poorly toward my children, but it helps me constantly strive to handle every situation through the fruit of the spirit.  I do not give myself an out by thinking God will fix all my mistakes.  I have to live as if I were the reflection in the mirror of Jesus himself.  Knowing I am but the daughter of man and saved merely by grace means that mistakes will happen, and by hope and faith I must believe that Jesus stands in the gap of that mistake for my children’s sake, knowing that my heart was right before the Lord.  And although forgetfulness and exhaustion are my constant companions they only give me reason to remember more and work harder.

~ Life here on earth is full of hardship.  Terrible situations with no reason behind them.  Hard times.  Misfortunes.  Grave circumstances.  I feel as though I am blessed among women to have been protected in life.  I have no physically, mentally, or emotionally scarred memories.  In most devastating situations I can offer no condolence of understanding.  I am blessed.  I have my troublesome memories, and PRAISE THE LORD, he stood in the gap of those situations.  I came out stronger, and that is my hope for my children; that although I make mistakes, my heart stands before the Lord thankful that his mercy covers them.

~ In all of this, two diseases and autistic like behavior – I am constantly aware that I am a weak and withering vessel.  My days are numbered like the hairs on my head.  I am proud to say I struggle, because within my struggle I find the true mercy and love of Christ.  His words heal me.  That healing may not be physical or tangible in a way that fingers could touch…but mentally and emotionally it uplifts, encourages, and gives me back the breath of life.  I find myself rising out of bed with no more physical strength than a four year old, but all the mental strength of a seasoned solider ready to step back in the fight.  His GRACE, through raising my children, and conquering these diseases, it is SUFFICIENT.  It gives me STRENGTH although I am WEAK in so many areas of life right now.  I can get lost in the day and become so short-cited, lost in exhaustion and forgetfulness, and lost in battles with my son’s emotional and physical outbursts that I forget to let the power of Christ just REST upon me.

~I love that Jesus say’s these words, “My grace is sufficient for you, my strength is made perfect in weakness.” If I but had the liberty to expound on this verse it would read something like this; “You make mistakes, I knew you would, and I’ve already taken care of them for you.  How can I show myself strong on your behalf if you never make a mistake?  How could I be welcomed into your home if you never need me? How could I bring healing if there was no infirmities?  Why would you want me, if you could do it all yourself?  I knew you before the world began, and I knew the obstacles you would face. I chose you to walk this path. I wanted you to be the one I shine brightly through! I needed you to be the one who showed the face of my glory.  Your weakness is the stage on which my strength shines and I’m so proud of you.” 

*Penned April 9th, 2015

Arrows of Strength

Raising kids is tough, it’s not for the faint of heart.  The thought on most of our hearts is, “How do I become a good parent?  How do I raise good kids?”  I’d like to share a story with you that I think will bring you perspective on this question.

The Archer

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The archer had been walking the woods for hours, scanning the ground left and right, looking for the perfect shaft to create his arrows. Suddenly there was a crack overhead and the archer jumped as the branch came crashing to the ground. The archer looked over the splintered and cracked branch which had landed mere meters from him. He gathered the pieces and returned back to his work shop.

As he laid the pieces out and scanned over each of their features, he took notice of the grain, weight, and diameter of each piece. He thoughtfully sorted through the pieces and began working on each piece individually to create the perfect shaft.

Testing the spine and gauging how straight the shaft would be took precision and patience. He put the piece of wood up to his eye and peered down the length, looking for any bend in the wood. With every imperfection he found, he worked the bend through the heel of his hand gently compressing the wood on one side while causing the fibers to stretch on the other side. His eye for straightness combined with his gentle but firm pressure began to straighten each shaft; after hours of patience and hard work, he laid a perfectly straight piece of wood on his work bench.

He sat down on the stool next to the straightened staff, he knew he had to be careful with the next step. He needed a steady hand and all the knowledge he gathered over his years of practice. Slowly and carefully he began to taper one end of the staff.  If the taper was not accurate the result would be an arrow with very poor flight. He worked in small steady strokes until he had reached the perfect taper.

He flipped the staff over and began notching the other end. This nock would be the cradle for the bowstring. He worked steadily to create the perfect fit between the shaft and the string. Knowing that his fit was important to propel the arrow towards its target, he needed it needed to be seamless.

He looked over his shaft, seeing that his work was good, began to stain the wood a rich brown.  He followed this with several coats of lacquer, carefully sanding between each coat to get a perfect finish.

He opened the cabinet above his table and pulled down two boxes. Looking through the content of these boxes he carefully selected two turkey feathers and a flint rock. He set his treasures on the table to look over them. He set the flint rock aside and placed the feathers at the center of his work station. Carefully he chopped the feathers, working not to roll it and change the landing edge. When he had them cut to the right length he set them aside.

As the sun peaked in the sky the archer picked up his flint rock and walked to the shade of this porch outside. The breeze that passed between the posts felt refreshing. With steady hands and a skillful eye the archer began knapping. For an hour the archer worked at flacking; slowly and precisely the arrow head took shape.

The arrow was nearly ready. With the lacquer dry the archer prepared to crest his shaft. He painted nine colors against the wood. This crest would identify this arrow against every other archers arrow. With the crest dried the archer attached the fletching and arrow head. He took care in wrapping the feathers making sure they set flush against the shaft. He mounted his arrow head and begin wrapping the wood around the head with sinew. Wrap after wrap the wood squeezed tighter around arrow head cementing it in place.

The sun was now low in the sky, casting a warm shadow through the dust of the shop, the archer was finally finished. He placed the arrow on a stand to let the sinew dry. With patience he waited, the sun rose and fell twice, the arrow sat drying, letting all the work of the archers hand come to a complete finish.

Then the day came. The archer turned the arrow over in his hand, inspecting his work. He peered down the shaft making sure that, again, it was perfectly straight. Seeing that his work was done, he placed the arrow into his quiver.

As he walked he thought about all the work he had put into such a delicate and fragile piece of wood and rock. Would all his work hold together, would it fly straight? He knew he had put all the right things into the arrow. He trusted the strength of the materials he had used. But he knew, he would never know how well he had done until the arrow was released from his bow.

His path came to an end, he peered out across a vast valley. It was time to test everything he had worked so hard for. He lifted the arrow from it’s quiver, the nock fit seamlessly against his bowstring. He pulled back, drawing a deep arch. This moment, he worked so hard for, it came down to this moment. Would the arrow fly? Would it hold together under the pressure of the force that would propel it through flight? Would it hit it’s intended target?

We have such a short time to pour into our children.  Like the archer from the story, we strive to provide our children with the best material.  We pull from our and others’ years of knowledge and wisdom.

When they’re young we spend hours teaching them, creating an environment that will shape them and mold them for life and the calling God has placed on their lives; just as the archer did as he worked to make the shaft straight.

As they grow we refine them, like the archer with the flint rock, skillfully chipping away and refining their character.

We coat them in prayer as the archer did with the lacquer and we work to adorn them with the fruit of the spirit.

We give them every thing we think they need so they can fly, including splitting and trimming their feathers so they have direction and purpose.

All this hard work goes toward one thing…..

HE RELEASED: all the pressure, all the hard work; the bowstring sliced through the air propelling the arrow forward. If you would have been able to run fast enough to keep up with it you would have heard the wind singing as it danced around the feathers. Forward the arrow flew as if it was continually propelled by an unseen force, and just when you thought it might go on forever, it’s target came clearly into focus. As it sank into the target the fiber of the wood, the sinew, the feathers, and the arrow head worked together, puncturing deep into the target, discovering its purpose and what it was created to do.

….the day they are released from our care and soar into the world, built from a solid foundation, adorned with knowledge, wisdom, and the skills they need to fly with ONE PURPOSE in mind.  So they might MEET the CALLING GOD has on their LIFE.

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.  Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.  They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.”  Psalm 127:3-5 (NIV)

Create Arrows of Strength

  1. Mold them while they are young.
  2. Equip them with knowledge and wisdom as they grow.
  3. Adorn them with faith and truth through the Word of God.
  4. Set them free to find their calling

Your child is unique, parent them that way.  Study your child and see where they bend and bow…then gently and firmly work to make them straight…equip them with knowledge and wisdom…paint them with the truth of the Word of God…and then release them to soar!  Will you be their archer?

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Changing Perspectives

Driving home the other day, two kids in tow, my son was asking me questions. I don’t honestly remember all the questions he asked in typically four-year old fashion; what I do remember is thinking how they suddenly changed my perspective on my role in life, with my children, with the next generation, and where my own focus should be.

We are constantly wanting the new this or the perfect that. Or, we tell ourselves if we just had this other thing it would make life better or easier. We are a culture focused on ourselves and all the things that we can obtain. We’ve been self focused for so long that it is evident we are no longer moving forward in our culture but are instead digressing. We view cultures that have come before us as primitive, but there is growing evidence that they were not as “primitive” as we might have once believe. Cultures were quite scientifically and historically advance. They knew the secret to growing stronger and better as a culture. What was their secrets? And why are we lost today at how their culture existed and what they knew?

The secret is KNOWLEDGE PASSED DOWN. Cultures suddenly disappear, we knew they existed only because of the things they left behind, but what we will never know is what they KNEW, the value of life they could share. What are you leaving behind? A house? A car? What do those things say about you? Only that you had them. What about a personal biography? I wonder how many biographies were in Cleopatra’s Library before it burnt down. The only knowledge that is protected from destruction is the knowledge we pass on to the people around us, knowledge that is kept in the vault of our memory and passed to the vault of someone else’s.

I sometimes think we take knowledge for granted. We know it’s in a book or on the internet or something contained by someone else so we don’t try to learn or understand it. It’s a sad state of being in our culture when we start to believe that someone or something will take care of it for us or that it isn’t essential for us to pass knowledge on. My Grandpa was like that, he was a mighty man of God, and was so smart.  One area of knowledge he contained was how to garden but he refused to pass it along to us for whatever reason, and with his passing, we had no knowledge of how to continue his garden. We now struggle to gain the ground he could have so easily shared and taught us.

“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.” – Deuteronomy 11:18

I don’t think God would have left the words above if it wasn’t important to grasp and obtain knowledge. Faith has lasted generation after generation and culture after culture because it was knowledge passed from one persons mouth to another persons ears…when there was nothing written to read there were words to share between people and the memory to grasp and obtain the knowledge.

“The law of God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.” Psalm 37:31

“I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:8

“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” – Psalm 119:11

Stored up! David stored up the knowledge given by God so that he would always know what to do whither it was sitting in front of him or not.

“My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart.” – Proverbs 4:20-21
“Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you.” – Proverbs 6:21-22

My goal in life shouldn’t be to obtain all the physical elements that I think will make me and my family happy. As a mother my goal in life is to provide my children with the knowledge that will carry them through their life, that they will pass on to the generations who follow. The most important thing I can obtain in life is knowledge, wisdom, and understanding! The most important calling is to pass that on to others whither that is our children or friends or a stranger in need of the love of God or sound advice.

Obtaining knowledge and passing it on to the people around us is what has propelled cultures into the future. My knowledge in Christ builds my character, the knowledge of Christ I pass on to my children builds their character, the knowledge we pass down to everyone that touches our lives builds the character of a culture.

Driving home that day I suddenly realized how pointless it was to build and obtain a physical house that would say what about me, my style. The obsessive focus of the future I wanted that made me sadder about where I was than happy about where God had me. All of that suddenly seemed so superficial it made me feel sick to my stomach over how long I had let it occupy a place in my thoughts and worse in my heart. What was important was teaching the next generation, my next generation, my children…how important their faith was…the knowledge of that faith…and how to become men and women of character with heavenly and earthly knowledge, wisdom, and understanding! We have not because we ask not(James 4:2)…we perish for lack of knowledge(Hosea 4:6)…we die from lack of faith(John 5:24). There are two things in this life that are important: FAITH and PEOPLE; what binds them together is KNOWLEDGE.

…my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children. – Hosea 4:6

Why do we hope for the moment that our children go to bed? Why are we not more proactive over who is teaching them? Why do we let them fall through the cracks because they are too much or not enough? Why do we work so hard for things with shelf-life and so easily forget about the things with real-life? My calling is to pass on the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding I have to others…most importantly my children…so that they can grow up as a prosperous generation with a hope and a future because that is the plans God has for them!! “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”(Jeremiah 29:11)

But this is not a solitary calling, the Lord calls all of us to be disciples for Him! We all have the responsibility of passing the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding that has been imparted to us by God to the next generation!

What suddenly became so clear that drive home was how important the knowledge was of the children that God had seen right to knit together inside my womb, to place in my charge; he had uniquely created me and their father to pass on the skills they would need for His calling over their lives. How precious my job is, how sweet is the time spent with them, and how important it is that I stay before his throne always for their care so that I may gain the knowledge I need to pass on. All this is by his design but it is only through my obedience to my calling that their character can be fulfilled and it is with the passing of knowledge that I create in them wisdom and understanding of both faith and life.

It is with knowledge that they learn to be mighty men and women of faith and grow in stature and strength before God and man. Prayer is powerful and can change the hand of God, but it is with obedience that Gods hand is able to extend to the generations. It is our responsibility to make sure that we through the gaining of knowledge and by obedience pass on that knowledge to our children so they have the ability to become people of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding and pass it on to each generation after them.

Knowledge…it’s important that is comes from you to them. Pass it on!

Husband & Wife

“It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.”
Proverbs 21:9

Quarrelsome – argumentative, confrontational, combative, antagonistic, belligerent, cantankerous, scrappy; these are some of the words my computer Thesaurus list as synonyms to quarrelsome.

How many books have been written about the Proverbs 31 woman. The woman of flawless character who earned the bacon, dressed the bacon, fried the bacon in a pan, and handed it over without a bite. That seemingly untouchable, unnamed woman in the bible who has every woman of every generation struggling to cope with their flaws and failures. The woman every Christian woman desires to be, strives to be, and secretly fails to be.

Was that mother telling her son to reach for the ideal of a woman who didn’t exist, maybe in hopes that he caught something that was better than the typical girl who walked their streets at the time? Or was it that the women of that era were just that much better than we are today. Obviously they had their issues with lazy women, defiant women, pervasive woman. I’m sure they had their fat and skinny women, ugly and beautiful women; however, the point of Proverbs 31:10-31 seems to be about a woman who is smart and creative, committed and faithful, she works and earns, she gives and provides, she’s strong and determined, she’s kind and loving, considerate and soft-hearted, she is the cause of respect for her husband, she is wise, she is blessed!

I’m not sure about you, but I can’t live up to that. I’m not one tenth of this described woman. (And, honestly, what would a King want with a girl who works…he is king for pete-sake! yeah…I know…principal of the matter, I got it….I’ve “gotten it” for well over 25 years.) I’m kind of tired of it. What about the women who TRY ridiculously hard to meet the needs of their ever-changing families in a time where you most likely DID NOT marry a king, despite what your husband would like to call himself. Where you live check to check and scramble to pay down debt while giving your family food on the table and a vacation in the summer. So many women today work hard, give hard, and well…they are, at times, quarrelsome. They are over worked, under appreciate, stretched to their limits, exhausted, and at the end of the day the only equality they want is a husband who will help them put the kids to bed and maybe wash the dishes.

Being a wife of noble character is the last thing on their minds! How in the world did this mother come up with the untouchable woman! This Proverbs woman was no slacker, she worked hard! But even the author of this poem admits that this woman can’t be found, “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” as quoted from Proverbs 31:10 from the NIV. We are wearing ourselves out trying to be this un-findable woman! She is an ideal not a real deal! BUT, this poem from a mother to a son has it’s place in every wives life. It’s a reaching point! I liken it to having to put the star on top of the Christmas tree (when your 5’2” and your Christmas Tree is eight feet, you need a ladder and a prayer of safety) you’re going to have to take it one step at a time.

That ideal woman of Proverbs 31 might have seemed to be everything to everyone over night, but in reality…it doesn’t happen that way. You grow slowly and over time you see yourself develop into something beautiful, something worth inspiring too. Eventually you are flowing through the words of Titus 2:3-5, “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” (NIV) The journey will seemingly take forever, but we have to be persistent, one day we will look back and see how far we have really come and our children really will rise up and call us blessed, and we will shed a tear of relief and gratitude for the poem of an untouchable woman we continually failed to be.
“Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward — arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel — rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.” 1 Peter 3:1-7 (NKJV)

Submissive: Ready to conform to the authority or will of others; meekly obedient or passive. My Thesaurus synonyms are compliant, yielding, dutiful, and docile.

We all have our preconceived idea on submission. Every woman cringes when they hear the word. The Sister Suffragist fought hard to get us from silent minority to roaring majority. We should be grateful. From a perspective of a stay at home wife who lives a work filled but charmed and easy life, I’m not so sure how grateful I am. Sure, I like to vote and feel like my voice makes a difference. I also like that I can work any job I like or desire. These are all admirable and desirable things we are inspiring too, but at what cost? What was the cost to our families and our relationships within our homes.

WWI brought opens doors through the workforce, doors that haven’t shut but continue to open wider. We work to earn the American dream, but the more we work to obtain the American dream, the more it cost to live the American dream. We’ve given up the rights in our home for the rights of our voice and the rights of a pay check equal too. Our children are taught by someone else, and our husbands are often left wanting because we are overworked and too stretched to devote any more attention on anyone but our own wounds from the battle of the day.

So in a world were jobs are open and voices are equal what does submission really look like? I’m sure I don’t know. I’m actually not sure when the last time was I submitted to my own husband. I like to think we are sharing our opinions equally, because well it is a relationship of equality. I deserve to have my voice heard, even if it’s at the cost of my husband self-esteem or my children’s revere for his fatherly authority. Yes, having a voice is important, but knowing when to use it, that is even more important.

We think of submission as something harsh and unfair but submission is a sign of respect and appreciation. Subconsciously you are telling your husband that you not only don’t respect him but you really don’t appreciate him either. (Man Speak: Your idea is stupid, where do you come up with this stuff, stop thinking your going to hurt yourself or someone else. I’m better at A,B,C than you are, why did I marry you in the first place if I was going to do everything myself anyway.) It may not seem apparent to either of you this is occurring, but spend some time, after you command your last say so, watching your husband. What does his actions, his demeanor, he attitude tell you about how he is feeling. How does he respond to you when another situation occurs? It could clue you in on what your refusal to submit is really doing to your husband and your marriage. As the genie in Aladdin would say, “Its not a pretty picture!”

Now, please, don’t get me wrong; you’re not supposed to shut up and listen for the rest of your life. On the contrary, actions speak louder than words. If the actions of a godly woman can win over an ungodly husband (1 Peter 3:1), how much more could the actions of a godly woman sway the opinion or understanding of a godly husband who’s desire it is to honor his wife and love her like Christ loves the church, which means he would lay down his life for; (and that doesn’t only apply to physically) he’ll want to put her needs before his own.

Do you remember the saying “behind every great man there is a great woman”? You don’t just influence your man, you drive him. You have the ability to lift him up or crash him down. Think about the last time you encouraged your husband. What happened? Did he succeed at something important, or gain the ground he had been fighting for at work, did he pass that test for the class he been working so hard on? Men are wired to thrive off of respect and admiration of their wives, a little encouragement goes a long way, a lot of encourage may make you a mom for the third or fourth time. Depends on the moods. 😉

By all this, I mean that your submission to your husband, allowing him to be the head, letting him lead, being their to back him up, to encourage him forward, are all signs of submission;  this is an offering of love to your husband that is a missing element in many marriages today. I’m sure all the great romantic relationships have this in common, each gave all and submitted their desires to the other. So, you might say, submission by any other word, would also be respect, admiration, and selflessness. “Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:33.

“All together NOW!” (Mad Hatter….I couldn’t help myself.) What is your role in the modern-day marriage, as a modern day woman? Similar to that of historical women in historical times with historical marriages. The Word is the same yesterday, today, and forever because our God is The Word and He doesn’t change. We are called to work unto perfection, though we may never obtain it in this life. We are able to grow into something like the Proverbs 31 woman; when we have the inner strength to lay down our desires and submit to our husbands.

“And the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” Mark 10:8.

When we give 100% into our spouse and expect nothing we have the potential to mold together a union that is of like-mindedness, a union of one…spiritual and emotional…and the ability to show them how to do the same. Despite what history would like us to think, a woman was not without rights, they just produced them in a different way….through the sway of the stronger vessel, the man. We have the ability to encourage them into strength and wisdom or into anger and withdrawal. As wives and mothers we have to hold tight to the respectful authority God gave to a man, and help mold them into that calling over their lives. We may never produce the perfect picture of the Proverbs 31 woman, but we can produce the thing that drove her, selflessness. When the lives of the people around us matter more than our own we become the essence of that coveted title, A PROVERBS 31 WOMAN!

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:” Proverbs 31:28 (NIV)